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Iowa Senate leader says medical care providers not being paid under Branstad’s Medicaid system

State capitol building in Des Moines
State capitol building in Des Moines

DES MOINES – Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum says data needs to be collected from medical care providers in Iowa that are struggling to be paid under the new privatized Medicaid system introduced this year by Governor Branstad.

According to Senator Jochum, “recently, many care providers have reported that they are struggling to be paid by the for-profit, out-of-state corporations that now run Iowa’s Medicaid program, which provides health care services to more than a half million Iowans.”

Recently, Branstad said in a statement from his office that “Medicaid providers are critical partners in providing value-based care that delivers better health outcomes under Medicaid Modernization.” He touted the “smooth transition” of Medicaid privatization and pointed out “success stories” to back up his claims.  He didn’t mention any issues with providers notnreceiving payment from the three private out-of-state managed care companies overseeing Iowa’s Medicaid program.

There are over 87,000 provider contracts in Iowa’s “Medicaid Modernization”  program that began March 1, 2016.  The Medicaid program serves about 560,000 low-income Iowans.

Jochum says that “failing to promptly pay local health care providers is unacceptable. Payment delays and mistakes disrupt Iowa businesses, put Iowa jobs at risk and make health care for every Iowan less accessible and more expensive.”

She also says that to understand the scope of the problem and to gather more data, House and Senate Democrats have launched a Medicaid provider survey.

“It is part of an ongoing effort with Iowans for Quality Medicaid to address concerns about the Branstad-Reynolds Administration’s rush to privatize Medicaid.”

Medicaid providers have been asked to take a short survey and tell about their experience in the transition to private care.

Iowa Medicaid is a joint state and federal program. It is described as the health care safety net for Iowa families dealing with severe accidents, long-term illnesses and disabilities. Roughly 70 percent of Medicaid funds are used to care for Iowans living with disabilities and the very poor elderly.

Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds launched the troubled attempt to put for-profit, out-of-state corporations in charge of Medicaid services. Senate Democrats worked to pass bipartisan, comprehensive Medicaid oversight and protections.

“Without these protections, Iowa’s Medicaid safety net could be harmed,” Jocum says. “That would be terrible for Iowa families and health care providers.”

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